Why Cancer Patients Use Yoga To Cope With Diagnosis & Treatment

Yoga Counteracts Anxiety And Stress During Cancer Treatment

It is well documented that yoga decreases stress hormones, like cortisol and increases GABA (gamma-Aminonbutyric acid) levels. GABA is an important calming chemical produced by the brain that counteracts anxiety and stress. GABA is a major inhibitory neurotransmitter chemical in the brain. GABA is responsible for balancing mood levels.

Restorative Yoga Practice Increases Cancer Patients Physical Stamina

It is believed that certain physical reaction disorders are due to the failure to produce adequate levels of GABA. Through brain imaging it has been shown that a restorative yoga practice increases GABA levels markedly. When GABA levels are maintained with breast cancer patients, physical stamina increases. Daily activities like climbing stairs, walking and doing the laundry become easier compared with those that don’t engage in a yoga practice or exercise.

Patients Who Practice Yoga Appear to Cope Better

Depression is also important to address with (breast) cancer patients. The uncertainty about prognosis and treatment, concerns of pain or even death, lack of physical and functional abilities and social changes contribute to depression. Patients who practice yoga appear to cope better with symptoms of illness, and the side effects and distresses of treatments. It is sited that the physical poses, breathing exercises, meditation techniques are especially helpful components of a yoga practice.

The proper balancing of the physical, and then emotional body are key to recovery, and good health. We need both but they need to be in balance, and yoga works directly at balancing them.

Best Yoga Poses To Encourage And Energize Cancer Patients
Suggested Cancer Self-Help Healing Books:

Dawn BradfordAbout Dawn Bradford Lange:  Co-founder of Breast Cancer Yoga. Dawn is making a difference with Breast Cancer Yoga therapeutic products designed to support you emotionally and physically during breast cancer . We want to give you the attention and personal service you need so please email us at info@breastcanceryoga.com if you have questions.

Radiotherapy Associated Fatigue: Causes And Management

How To Manage Fatigue During Breast Cancer Radiation TherapyWhat is fatigue?

Fatigue is the feeling of mental and physical exhaustion, commonly experienced as a symptom of cancer and a side effect of its treatment, especially radiation therapy. Unlike the normal fatigue you encounter in everyday life, this fatigue is long-lasting and might not be cured with the rest.

Radiotherapy fatigue related to cancer can seriously interrupt your daily routine by making you feel lethargic and unwell in general. The degree of fatigue can vary day to day; it may get better one day only to worsen in the next. It is hard to predict how long fatigue will last. Also, fatigue can make it difficult for you to follow your treatment plan. For these reasons, managing fatigue is a vital part of the care of a cancer patient.

Identify fatigue:

Firstly, inform your medical team of your level of fatigue, because fatigue is simply a feeling, and there are no diagnostic tests to assess it. You can use a scale of 0 to 10 (0 mean none and 10 mean the most severe), or just words like ‘none’, ‘mild’, ‘moderate’ and ‘severe’. Doctors will help you deal with the fatigue and reduce it, if possible.

Causes of fatigue:

The reasons for radiotherapy fatigue are often not evident. The usual culprits are:

  • Your Cancer: Some cancers often release proteins called cytokines that are believed to cause fatigue. Cancer basically enhances body’s energy needs, weakens your muscles causing the destruction of body’s cells or organs leading to fatigue.
  • Cancer treatment: Cancer treatments like chemotherapy, radiotherapy, bone marrow therapy, etc. all destroy healthy body cells along with targeted cancer cells causing fatigue in the whole body. It may also be due to side effects of drugs.
  • Anemia: Anemia develops as a result of cancer treatment as it destroys red blood cells or cancer spreads to the bone marrow that produce red blood cells.
  • Emotion: Stress, depression and anxiety are the result of cancer diagnosis and lead to fatigue.  
  • Infection: Skin infections generate as a result of radiotherapy in the form of skin ulcers or skin wounds. They may lead to dizziness and tiredness
  • Insomnia: Interrupted sleep may cause fatigue and tiredness the whole day
  • Inactivity: If you are a regular exercise person, then inactivity due to radiotherapy leads to fatigue.
  • Medication: Medications such as painkillers or drugs used to reduce the side effects of cancer treatment like nausea and anxiety lead to fatigue
  • Poor nutrition: To perform activities or any work efficiently, energy is required for a healthy. Due to cancer the ability to process nutrients is disturbed and that in turn leads to anorexia (loss of appetite). Hence, cause fatigue.
  • Hormonal imbalance: Changes to the hormonal glands like thyroid gland, adrenal gland, ovaries or testes may all cause fatigue

If the cause is known, treatment can focus on that cause. However, most of the time, the cause remains unknown, so a more fruitful approach to the problem is to learn ways to manage fatigue.

Prevention and Treatment:

Given below are some suggestions on how to manage fatigue in your day-to-day life.

  • Sleep at least 8 hours every day. It may be more than you’re used to, so look for ways that will help you sleep longer. A good deal of physical activity during the day can work wonders for your sleep. Also, find ways to relax before going to bed, such as listening to music or reading a book.
  • Working out for 15-30 minutes each day might help you feel better. Stick to light activity such as walking and stretches, nothing too strenuous. Consult your nurse or doctor on the amount of exercise that is appropriate for you.
  • Try your best to remain active, but don’t waste your precious energy by trying to do everything you want to. Too much effort might worsen your fatigue. Prioritized the things you need to do, and try to do the most important things first.
  • Keep your regular necessities within reach so that you don’t have to exert too much effort to get them.
  • Stress is one of the causes of fatigue, so find ways to keep it at bay. Good suggestions for such activities are listening to music, reading, meditation, prayer and socializing. Any activity that makes you feel relaxed will do.
  • Set aside some time for rest during the day. Taking a short nap might help you feel better. 10 to 15 minutes of rest is usually enough, but try not to make it over an hour.
  • Arrange your work schedule to suit you. Depending on your level of fatigue, you may be capable of working normally, or for not more than a few hours. Working from home is an option to consider. So is taking sick leave for the duration of the treatment.
  • Plan a schedule for radiation therapy sessions that best suits you, keeping in mind your activities for the day.
  • If you find it hard to cope with fatigue, talk to your doctor. Drugs called psychostimulants can ease your fatigue and help you feel better. Also, your doctor will help treat other problems such as depression, insomnia, and anemia.

Conclusion:

Fatigue is usually caused by cancer therapies, in particular radiotherapy. Fatigue can affect the quality of life more than pain or any other symptom. It may be caused due to many reasons. Your doctor may advise you strategies to cope with fatigue related to radiotherapy that might include medications or self-care interventions.

References:

  1. Cancer fatigue; why it occurs and how to cope
  2. Fatigue and Radiotherapy
  3. Radiotherapy tiredness
  4. General information on fatigue
  5. Cancer related fatigue and simple fatigue
  6. Radiotherapy related fatigue

Photo Source: GoodNewsNetwook.Org

Dr. Adem GunesDr. Adem Gunes has built the world’s largest database of scientifically tested natural substances with proven effects in cancer treatments. In 2009, he was appointed as the Chief Physician of ProLife Clinic in Innsbruck, Austria, and played a key role in the establishment of the research laboratory. He is also the co-founder of the first Austrian hyperthermia center. Now, Dr. Adem works closely with cancer patients from around the world (including Germany, Thailand, Dubai) to recommend them a complementary cancer clinic or to create a personalized care plan for patients to follow at home.

Products to Reduce Chemotherapy Side Effects and Improve Comfort and Quality of Life

Products to Reduce Chemotherapy Side Effects and Improve Comfort and Quality of LifeBy Margot Malin, Founder and President of Lots To Live For, Inc.
It is a well-known fact that chemotherapy patients may experience a number of painful or uncomfortable side effects. Not as well known, however, is that there are quite a few inexpensive nonprescription products readily available which can significantly reduce these unwanted side effects and thereby improve comfort and quality of life. These products (all of them in the blog post) help to bridge the gap between conventional therapy by providing a holistic complementary approach to managing side effects of chemotherapy.

NAUSEA (technically called Chemotherapy Induced Nausea and Vomiting or CINV)
Several simple products can reduce nausea. Biobands, or acupressure wrist bands are simple to use and non-invasive. The adjustable wristband has a small bead built in to it, which when positioned correctly on the underside to the wrist places a gently pressure on the P-6 accupressure point to prevent nausea before it begins. Queasy Drops are lozenges made with essential oils to help reduce nausea and are another natural way to ease a queasy stomach. They also help combat dry mouth. QueaseEase is a drug free all natural, essential oil therapy aromatic inhaler which can be discreetly carried in a purse or briefcase. When an overall sense of queasiness occurs, take a few breaths for an instant feeling of comfort and calm.

Other remedies include ginger, peppermint, teas and essential oils applied to the skin. Oncologists can also prescribe prescription medications to help combat nausea.Chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting natural products

DRY MOUTH AND MOUTH SORES
Cancer treatments can cause dry mouth or salivary gland dysfunction and can increase the risk of oral infections. They can also cause very uncomfortable mouth sores. Mouth Kote® eases the discomfort of dry mouth. Mouth Kote® is a new class of oral moisturizer that creates a homogeneous layer in the mouth that has a viscosity and lubricity similar to saliva. Mouth Kote® is a great product because not only does it help to moisturize your mouth, it can also be swallowed and it will also moisturize your throat. OraMagic® Plus Oral Wound Rinse reduces mouth pain and soothes mouth sores. It contains benzocaine to reduce pain. Biotene oral care products include Biotene toothpaste and Biotene Oral Balance Gel which help lubricate a dry, sensitive mouth.

If your mouth is sore: (1) take small bites of food, chew slowly, and sip liquids with your meals and (2) avoid sharp, crunchy foods that could scrape or cut your mouth. It is important to see a dentist before and during treatment.

Chemotherapy Hand & Foot Neuropathy Productds

HAND FOOT SYNDROME (also called palmar plantar erythrodysesthesia) and NEUROPATHY
Hands and feet can become especially dry and uncomfortable from certain chemotherapy treatments. In fact, hands and feet can become so irritated that they can begin to crack and peel. Other symptoms may include swelling, numbing, tingling or redness. It is important to moisturize the area. Lindi Soothing Balm was formulated to treat Hand/Foot Syndrome. This product is a highly emollient treatment for intensely dehydrated areas of the skin. The Lindi Soothing Balm has an abundance of avocado oil, and is especially beneficial to painful, cracked and peeling skin. Atopalm Foot & Heel Balm has a special composition of technical and traditional ingredients that work to leave dry, cracked feet and heels feeling silkier, softer and smoother.

Topricin Pain Relief Cream is specially formulated for injuries and pains. It is patented to help neuropathy pain, a common side effect of cancer treatment. Topricin provides pain relief by improving circulation and attracting and stimulating the body’s healing chemistries at the site of the pain.

HAIR AND SCALP
The use of Thymuskin Hair Care Products, developed in Germany, may help reduce hair loss and stimulate hair regrowth if the hair is thinning, or after the hair has fallen out. The thymic peptides and enzymes in these products combined with the vitamins A, B, E and F normalize the immunologic system and provide important growth factors for the hair follicles and roots.

DRY, CRACKED AND COMPROMISED SKIN
There are many products that can help skin compromised by chemotherapy. We suggest products with natural ingredients and those that do not contain parabens or other harmful chemicals. For example, CV Skinlabs products are a natural and organic collection of luxuriously soothing and clinically proven formulas that nurture and repair skin. The four CV Skinlabs products all address a different skin issue but all work to restore moisture and soothe. My Girls™ Skin Care Cream is a plant-based, calendula cream that also contains rosemary, honey and natural oils. It is helpful for patients who want to maintain the healthy appearance of their skin, avoid delays in treatment and other potential side effects that may affect quality of life.

REASONS FOR OPTIMISM
All of the products highlighted in this blog post help to alleviate some of the difficult side effects caused by chemotherapy. You may find one which improves just the right discomfort and triggers an upward inflection in your quality of life during treatment. Or, perhaps a collection of these products can help you resume a more normal lifestyle while you undergo chemotherapy. Products that reduce side effects make thoughtful and useful gifts for chemotherapy patients. Lots To Live For, Inc. has been delivering comfort to cancer patients for almost 14 years and our products have brightened many lives by helping individuals as they seek to return to their daily routines.

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About Margot Malin: Intellectually cMargot Malinurious and fiercely independent, Margot Malin has a passion for knowledge.  After receiving her MBA from The Wharton School, she launched her career by analyzing and evaluating businesses.  In 2002 she embarked on the “creative reinvention” phase of her career with the intention of “giving back”. Margot founded Lots To Live For, Inc., an internet retailer that sells carefully selected products to reduce and relieve the uncomfortable and unpleasant side effects caused by chemotherapy and radiation.

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